For the last seven years, Penn State has continued to break records and hit unprecedented milestones — and Friday night was no different.
The Nittany Lions won their 50th consecutive dual — without Vincenzo Joseph — in a 33-8 victory over Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. It is not known why Joseph made the trip but did not wrestle.
In addition to the streak, redshirt senior Jason Nolf earned career win No. 100 in typical Nolf fashion (with bonus points). And, for the first time since last season’s dual against Ohio State, Penn State dropped two bouts in the same dual.
“I think every Big Ten team will come to wrestle,” head assistant coach Casey Cunningham told the Penn State Sports Network. “I don’t think there is an off weekend when you’re wrestling in the Big Ten. They (Northwestern) came to fight. Our guys responded, and it was a fun night.”
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The eight points that the Wildcats scored against Penn State are the most the Nittany Lions have allowed this season. Penn State has outscored its opponents 210-17.
Penn State also won the takedown advantage 51-7. It now has a 220-17 takedown advantage in five duals.
The Nittany Lions dropped the first bout of the night at 125 pounds. Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera, who became the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the weight class, earned an 18-2 technical fall over Devin Schnupp in 2:53.
Following Roman Bravo-Young’s 15-9 decision at 133 pounds, Nick Lee had seven takedowns in his 16-6 major decision at 141 pounds. Penn State gained the lead for the first time on the night at 7-5.
Brady Berge got the start at 149 pounds for the Nittany Lions. He rattled off a team-high nine takedowns — five alone in the first period. The redshirt freshman won 19-7.
“The kid is one of the hardest-working kids we have,” Cunningham said of Berge. “One of the most disciplined. He put in more time last year during his redshirt year than anybody. He wants to be good. He is going to keep getting better and better.”
Nolf got a little late birthday gift. He turned 23 on Thursday, the same day his wife, Maddie Nolf, was drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League.
Nolf, too, amassed five first-period takedowns on No. 3 Ryan Deakin at 157 pounds. He had three more takedowns in the second period and led 16-7. In the third period, Deakin handed Nolf two stall points and an interlocking penalty point for the 19-7 final score and Nolf’s historic win.
What’s even more astounding: 91 of Nolf’s 100 victories have come with bonus points.
“Nolf is, like we’ve said a bunch of times, special,” Cunningham said. “He’s one of those special guys. You don’t see too many of those guys come around in our careers.”
Bo Pipher filled in for the missing Joseph at 165 pounds. He trailed 9-4 at the start of the third period against Tyler Morland, and got to 11-9 with 29 seconds to go. He was unable to get the tying takedown, but the Nittany Lions still led 15-8.
Mark Hall earned a 10-4 win at 174 pounds with Penn State earning bonus points the rest of the way.
Shakur Rasheed earned an 18-2 second-period technical fall in 3:59. Bo Nickal picked up his team leading 10th pin in 6:12 as the Nittany Lions led 29-8.
Anthony Cassar finished the dual off with several double-leg takedowns on No. 19 Conan Jennings in a 12-2 major decision. On the first points of the bout, Cassar picked Jennings — who had a 50-pound advantage — clear off the mat and back down.
Penn State travels home for a dual against Wisconsin on 1 p.m. Sunday in Rec Hall. It is unclear if Joseph will take part in the dual. However, Cunningham knows his guys will be ready for the quick turnaround.
“Wisconsin is a tough team. They got a lot of fire,” Cunningham said. “The guys (Wisconsin) are going to come in and fight hard. I think our guys get excited about that. We want guys that want to come fight us and score points.”
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No. 1 Penn State 33, Northwestern 8
Friday at Evanston, Ill.
125: No. 1 Sebastian Rivera, NU, tech. fall Devin Schnupp, 18-2 (2:53)
133: No. 14 Roman Bravo-Young, PSU, dec. Colin Valdiviez, 15-9
141: No. 4 Nick Lee, PSU, major dec. Colin Valdiviez, 16-6
149: No. 9 Brady Berge, PSU, major dec. Shayne Oster, 19-7
157: No. 1 Jason Nolf, PSU, major dec. No. 3 Ryan Deakin, 19-7
165: Tyler Morland, NU, dec. Bo Pipher, 11-9
174: No. 1 Mark Hall, PSU, dec. Johnny Sebastian, 10-4
184: No. 3 Shakur Rasheed, PSU, tech. fall Brendan Devine, 18-2 (3:59)
197: No. 1 Bo Nickal, PSU, pinned Zack Chakonis, 6:12
285: No. 4 Anthony Cassar, PSU, major dec. No. 19 Conan Jennings, 12-3
Takedowns: Penn State 51, Northwestern 7
Records: Penn State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten); Northwestern (2-5, 0-2 Big Ten)
Next match: No. 10 Wisconsin at Penn State, Sunday, 1 p.m.